Vijayadashami, since the commencement of our constitution, lawmakers have promised many freedom rights to the citizens of India. Religion is one such freedom guaranteed by article 25.
Article 25: All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
Thanks to the lawmakers for making our lives convenient by blessing us with a secular state. Equally thanks to its citizens for using this extreme power to make the living conditions appalling.
India is prospering day by day and is the world’s 3rd largest economy by Purchase, Power, and Parity. Our government is toiling daily by introducing new policies to boost growth, and we also anticipate ourselves as a future world power.
From Swachh Bharat, Green Highway, Clean Energy, Clean Ganga, changing emission norms, etc., to bringing back Black Money, Govt. promotes a clean and thriving India. Resolutions are being passed in the UN, and COP-21 will be held in Paris in December. India is under pressure from the international community to curb pollution. India is the 4th largest carbon emitter after China, the United States (US), and European Union (EU).
The reason to talk about this whole story on Vijayadashami is to make us aware of a culprit obscured from our eyes. It is not religion itself but the superstitions we practice in the name of religion. Every year effigies of thousands of demons (Ravan) are burnt in public. It is not wrong to say people are making a fool out of themselves by thinking that they have burnt the demon out of their lives.
They are burning paper and money to give birth to a demon that takes almost 3 million lives in our country, i.e., Pollution. A huge crowd gathers on the grounds to see the demon burning at Environment and Money’s cost. In a country like ours, crippled due to poverty, so much money is burnt to gather blessings rather than feed the poor.
In the past few months, there have been some landmarking decisions on such rituals; for example, the National Green Tribunal recently passed orders to ban non-bio-degradable Ganesha idols from being used in Visarjan. Supreme Court has slammed Maharashtra Government for adding water to the Godavari River to promote Shahi-Snaan for Kumbh Mela instead of providing water for irrigation to farmers when the whole state is in the jaws of drought.
What About Vijayadashami?
The Government has banned public smoking, but it seemed to be handicapped in front of such a catastrophic religious practice, especially Vijayadashami. Not only the govt.
But the citizens are also an accomplice in it by misusing the power given by the Constitution to them. Indeed, it is appreciable that several NGOs act against such practices, and courts are also ordering to shut down such activities.
Still, the awful thing is the lack of implementation. Even after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders, people used Non-Biodegradable Ganesha idols, and there was no action against them. Similar is the case in Maharashtra, where the Court seeks answers after the water has been used, making these steps useless.
The main reason behind Vijayadashami and these incidents is that all our tribunals or other such bodies are subordinate to the Govt. or working under the Government’s disguise. These bodies have to be given constitutional powers to tackle spring back from the Government.
Also, it is time to develop the consensus and go back to ancient ways of practicing religion where it was a symbol of peace and tranquility, not the demon itself. It is also time to repeal Article 25 to allow freedom to practice religion without harming the environment.
Our environment needs us!